David Hockney: a bigger picture


(Photo credit: Royal Academy of Arts. Image above shows a red-coloured path with grass, flowers and a line of brightly coloured trees on either side of it with the text David Hockney A bigger picture in the centre of the image)

The Royal Academy of Arts presents the first major exhibition of new landscape works by David Hockney RA.

Born in Bradford in 1937, David Hockney attended Bradford School of Art before studying at the Royal College of Art from 1959 to 1962. Hockney’s stellar reputation was established while he was still a student; his work was featured in the exhibition Young Contemporaries, which heralded the birth of British Pop Art.

He visited Los Angeles in the early 1960s and settled there soon after. He is closely associated with southern California and has produced a large body of work there over many decades.

For the last decade Hockney has been based in Yorkshire, where he has returned to painting in the open air, observing with honesty and intensity the scenery remembered from school holidays spent working in East Yorkshire.

This major study of his work redefines him as an important painter of the English countryside, presenting his recent landscapes for the first time. Featuring vivid paintings inspired by the East Yorkshire landscape, these large-scale works have been created especially for the galleries at the Royal Academy of Arts and are shown alongside related drawings and film.

These works convey the drama and splendour of nature and the pathos of our relationship with it, an age-old subject treated by Hockney with a modern and spirited eye.

The exhibition also reveals how Hockney has embraced new technology, including his early use of the Polaroid, his innovative use of the colour photocopier, and more recently his iPhone and iPad. It includes a display of his iPad drawings and a series of new films produced using 18 cameras, which are displayed on multiple screens and provide a spellbinding visual journey.

David Hockney : A Bigger Picture is a fully illustrated catalogue containing a number of essays, including an introduction by Marco Livingstone, exploring the artist’s engagement with landscape painting in the context of Hockney’s illustrious career.

Writers as notable as Margaret Drabble, Tim Barringer, Martin Gayford, Xavier Salomon and David Hockney himself address the artist’s place in the landscape tradition, his recent video works and his delight in new technologies.

Illustrated with paintings, charcoal drawings, iPad drawings and video stills, many of which have never been seen before, this landmark publication confirms David Hockney as one of the greatest artists of his generation.

You can find further details of David Hockney: a bigger picture on the main catalogue, available in ‘Catalogues’ on the Library’s website.